06:58 AM

Media Advisory: The Ohio State University to celebrate Jesse Owens’ legacy with red-carpet preview screening of new movie “Race”

The Ohio State University, the collegiate home of legendary track and field star Jesse Owens, will host a red-carpet preview screening of “Race,” a new movie about the iconic athlete, on Monday, Feb. 15. Actor Stephan James (“Selma”), who stars as Owens in the film, and two of Owens’ daughters – Marlene Owens Rankin and Gloria Owens Hemphill – will participate in daylong activities celebrating the gold medal champion.

Based on the incredible true story of Jesse Owens’ quest to become the greatest track and field athlete in history and being thrust onto the world stage of the 1936 Olympics, where he faces off against Adolf Hitler’s vision of Aryan supremacy, “Race” is a film about courage, determination, tolerance, and friendship, and an inspiring drama about one man’s fight to become an Olympic legend. MPAA-rated “PG-13,” the movie will be released nationwide by Focus Features on Friday, Feb. 19.

“Race” is partially set during Owens’ time at Ohio State, with Jason Sudeikis portraying Owens’ real-life coach Larry Snyder. As his alma mater, Ohio State recognizes and continues to celebrate the legacy of Jesse Owens and his impact on the community and the world. Ohio State probably has more facilities and events named for him than any other university — including the Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, where a statue of the man with his four Olympic medals greets athletes and spectators.

Seating is limited and tickets are being made available to members of the university community. Student tickets are available now through Dtix on a first come basis: one ticket per student with a valid BuckeyeID. Tickets will be available to Ohio State faculty and staff on Wednesday, Feb. 10, via the Wexner Center for the Arts.

In addition, many artifacts from the university’s Jesse Owens Collection will be on display in the Thompson Library, 1858 Neil Ave. Mall. The collection includes papers, photographs and artifacts that pertain to Owens’ athletic career, his business interests, his philanthropic activities, and his personal life.

Ohio State President Michael V. Drake said the event is important to the university, stating “It is fitting that we would host this screening at Jesse's alma mater, where he still holds the record for the outdoor 100-meter dash and is one of Ohio State’s most accomplished athletes.

“It is also an important opportunity for us as a community to come together and reflect on his life and legacy. The intense racial divide in this country limited his access to opportunities — meaning, among other things, he could not reap the professional benefits that our most celebrated athletes do today. This aspect of his legacy reminds us of how far we’ve come, and that there is much more room for us to grow as a more just and inclusive society.”

Ms. Owens Rankin and Ms. Owens Hemphill added, “Our father’s legacy is for not just our generation, but for the ones after. Being back at Ohio State, where Jesse Owens began to achieve excellence, is meaningful to us, and we are glad to share his history with the students here.”

Media opportunities for Feb. 15 are as follows:

  • Interviews with actor Stephan James and Jesse Owens’ daughters, Marlene and Gloria, will take place in the afternoon at the Ohio Union, 1739 N. High St. Please contact Chris Davey (davey.8@osu.edu) or Amy Murray (murray-goedde.1@osu.edu) to arrange an interview time between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m.

  • Prior to the screening of the movie, media are invited to cover the red-carpet press line from 6:15 to 6:30 p.m. in the lobby of Mershon Auditorium, 1871 N. High St.
  • The movie, slated to begin at 7 p.m. and open to press attendees, will be preceded by welcoming remarks from Ohio State President Michael V. Drake.
  • Media are also welcome to gather images of artifacts from the university’s Jesse Owens Collection on display at the Thompson Library, 1858 Neil Ave. Mall.